6 Wrestling Stars You Didn’t Know Worked in Ring of Honor
In the fallout of the Monday Night Wars, the new millennium saw a new age for professional wrestling. Addicts weren’t getting the same buzz that wrestling gave them only a few years prior. As a result, the United States saw independent professional wrestling promotions experimenting with the formula, forming the basis of the huge market of indies that we see globally today. Arguably the most pertinent brand associated with all things indie, Ring of Honor has now flourished to a veteran status in the Olympic-sized pool of companies producing regular displays for wrestling followers.
In the establishment of any wrestling company, an appearance from a famous star who has experience somewhere often abbreviated to three letters (one or two of which may be ‘W’), is a good tactic for improving ticket sales – because Wrasslin’ is all about putting butts in seats. Ring of Honor utilised the talent of a variety of former ECW, WCW and WWE stars in the earlier years and so it may come as a surprise to see here on this list some of your ‘big-league’ favourites making appearances in ROH.
Following his departure from the good years of the WWE, the 27-time Hardcore champion of the company moved on to the growing NWA TNA of the time where his right to travel and appear in independent shows was enabled. Hence, prior to his boost with Jeff Jarrett’s company, he showed his ability in an ROH arena during an historic feud with the infamous CM Punk in 2003.
5: Ricky Steamboat
2003 was a year of building for ROH, and the important stars who had jumped ship from the McMahon empire to contribute to the rise of TNA evidently suited ROH’s needs by the same token. And while we’re there already, the influence of the likes of Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat and Raven clearly supported CM Punk’s eventual rise to stardom. And despite not appearing in the ring during the feud, his feud with Mick Foley in 2004 got the best out of a set of stars including Nigel McGuiness and BJ Whitmer.
4: Ken Shamrock
Ken Shamrock is the “World’s Most Dangerous Man”, such a title that is claimed by so many of the world’s toughest, but he does boast an accolade list too extensive for a short descriptive paragraph. Beyond the impressive Wrestling gold however, he is also proven in MMA where he is a four-time UFC Heavyweight Champion and Hall of Fame inductee. At the age of 19, entry into a California Toughman competition saw him knock out two men over 50 pounds heavier than him before the final opponent was unable to fight ‘One Punch Shamrock’ due to a ‘non-visible’ injury. His first experience of ROH was in refereeing a 2002 match between Low Ki and a young hopeful named Bryan Danielson?
3: Bret Hart
Honestly, Bret Hart’s time with Ring of Honor was nothing to particularly cherish. It was essentially purely business but why shouldn’t it be. Nobody was certainly hurt by it. Plus it’s more likely that you won’t have known he had appeared in an ROH show. Bingo. The “Excellence of Execution” chose ROH over the Impact Zone in 2009 to avoid becoming heavily involved in storylines – a decision he may have regretted in 2010 when Hulk Hogan took TNA under his wing to provide an innovative, exciting and original product for fed up wrestling fans.
2: Eddie Guerrero
A five-star Luchas de Apuestas match with Art Barr against El Hijo del Santo and Octagón in 1994 sets early on a timeline including time at the top of the celebrated WCW Cruiserweight Division, various tag title reigns and of course, the famous WWE Championship victory against Brock Lesnar. What may not be common knowledge to passionate wrestling fans however, is that before his return to the WWE in 2002 Eddie Guerrero and Super Crazy fought on the debut show of Ring of Honor. Following his tragic passing in 2005, the golden boy of Los Guerreros has always been remembered as one of the most universally treasured entertainers in the history of the industry.
1: Dusty Rhodes
As is the case for many of these historic stars, Dusty Rhodes made his first independent appearance under Ring of Honor. It may come as a surprise that The American Dream appeared in April 2003 for the company, before returning 11 months later against the narcissistic rich kid stable ‘Special-K’. It would take a loyal Ring of Honor fan to recall his appearances, but nowadays the family name is far from forgotten with Dusty’s legacy within the company evident – his son, Cody, won the ROH World Title during his rise to independent success in June of 2017.
Did we miss any big names who have appeared in Ring of Honor? Let us know in the comments
Also make sure to check out Wrestle:List’s interview with Diamond Dallas Page